‘Hero of the Year’ award for Josie   

Josie Reynolds (centre), volunteer with The Melting Pot Community Society in Co. Roscommon is this year’s National Lottery Cood Causes of the Year awards. Pic: Mac Innes Photography

Roscommon woman, Josie Reynolds, has been named ‘Hero of the Year’ in the National Lottery Good Causes Awards which took place at the Killashee House Hotel in Naas on Saturday evening.

As well as her ‘Hero of the Year’ award, Josie also received €5,000 in prize money while The Melting Pot was also nominated in the Community category at this year’s awards.

A native of Ballyleague, Josie, who has been volunteering with The Melting Pot in Roscommon town for the past five years, said she was both surprised and delighted to receive the accolade.

Josie was nominated for the award following a ballot among staff and board members.

According to manager Monica Gaffney, The Melting Pot is a community initiative which offers support to people to people on their mental health recovery journey by offering them volunteering and work experience opportunities in the café, charity shop or community space.

Monica explained why Jose had been nominated for the award: “She’s just amazing and we don’t know what we do without her. What she has done for the community and how she looks after and how she knows if someone needs to talk or needs space or if someone is suffering in the background. She’s an amazing lady”.

Josie had acted as a carer for both her parents up until their deaths 19 years ago, and said that volunteering at The Melting Pot had given her a sense of purpose.

“The award means so much…it’s such a shock I can’t believe it. When my name was called out I thought I was hearing things! It means an awful lot to me,” she said.

“My parents are 19 years gone this year but I did everything for them and unfortunately when they died, sense went. I moved from home and it was Andy McDonald who brought me over here. I started working in the café and I love it. I’ve met so many people. I love the people coming in and I love helping them,” she said.